Iraqi court issues arrest warrant for Nineveh governor

Iraqi court issues arrest warrant for Nineveh governor

Iraq has issued arrest warrants for officials in Nineveh in an effort to crack down on corruption in the northern province.

The list of names includes former governor Nawfal Al Agub who was dismissed by parliament on Sunday after nearly 100 people were killed when a ferry capsized in the Tigris River.

A lawmaker in Baghdad tweeted a copy of the warrant, outlining a court's claim that the Nineveh officials had misused their powers and committed financial violations.

The Nineveh’s investigation court has sent an official request to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government to hand over Mr Al Agub who has fled to the Kurdish capital of Erbil, according to a statement by a court in Mosul.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi demanded that Nineveh’s provincial council open an investigation to hold people responsible for the ferry sinking in to account.

Residents say the tragedy was symptomatic of mismanagement and corruption in the war-torn province.

Mr Abdul Mahdi demanded that parliament dismiss Mr Al Agub and his two deputies last Saturday.

“Due to the obvious negligence and dereliction in performing duties and responsibility, and the presence of evidence proving misuse of public funds and abuse of power, we suggest that you dismiss the governor and his deputies,” Mr Abdul Mahdi wrote in the letter to parliamentary speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi.

The premier also appointed a new crisis council, headed by a prominent academic, Dr Muzahim Al Khayat to temporarily administer the province until the council elects a new governor.

Over 120 lawmakers voted to sack Mr Al Agub and to refer him to a judiciary on Sunday.

The boat was loaded to five times its capacity with people celebrating the Kurdish new year when it capsized on the Tigris River last Thursday.

Police said 97 people were killed, 67 remain missing and 55 were rescued.

Parliament declared those killed in the tragedy were martyrs, allowing their families to receive financial compensation and pave the way for court proceedings against those responsible.